Flyers NCAA Prospect Postseason Report

By Al Alven

Note: The following is a brief look at how each of the Flyers’ five NCAA prospects faired in their respective postseason campaigns. A full review of each player’s overall performance this season – including analysis, evaluation and future outlook – will be posted following the conclusion of the NHL playoffs.

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Colin Shields, Left Wing

Team: University of Maine (24-10-5 overall, 14-6-4 in conference play)
Playoffs: The Black Bears – perennial national championship contenders – experienced their worst postseason in recent memory, falling in the first round of both the Hockey East and NCAA tournaments. As a third seed in the HE playoffs, Maine was swept by six-ranked University of Massachusetts, two games to none (5-3, 4-2). Shields – who entered the series mired in a 15-game goal-scoring draught – played well in both contests, but could not break through. He did, however, record an assist in the second game and began to look like he was getting his confidence back. By the time the NCAA Tournament rolled around, the Black Bears had been idle for 22 days. Still, the team played a terrific first round game against Michigan, only to fall, 2-1, on a powerplay goal with 1:31 remaining. Maine’s loan goal? You guessed it – Shields finally got his first goal of the calendar year, redirecting a pass from Martin Kariya (yes, Paul and Steve’s brother) at 16:06 of the second period.

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Dov Grumet-Morris, Goaltender

Team: Harvard University (22-10-2 overall, 17-4-1 in conference play)
Playoffs: For the second straight season, Harvard faced Cornell in the ECAC championship game. The Crimson took home the Whitelaw Trophy last year, but were bested by a superior Cornell club (30-4-1, 19-2-1) this time around, 3-2 in overtime. Grumet-Morris was superb overall in the ECAC playoffs, stopping a combined 61 of 67 shots in a 5-3 semifinal win over Dartmouth and the title game. Despite the loss to Cornell, however, Harvard received an “at large” bid into the NCAA Tournament. There, the team played admirably, but fell to Boston University, 6-4. Grumet-Morris had one of his poorer outings of the season, allowing six goals on only 31 shots (though it is fair to note that he did not get a great deal of support from Harvard’s overwhelmed defensive unit).

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Joey Mormina, Defenseman

Team: Colgate University (17-19-4 overall, 9-10-3 in conference play)
Playoffs: The Raiders put together a nice little playoff run, dispatching St. Lawrence in the first round of the ECAC playoffs, before falling to Dartmouth in the second round (both best-of-three series went to a third and decisive game). Mormina was terrific against St. Lawrence, logging a ton of icetime and using his huge, 6-5, 225 lb. frame to angle off oncoming forwards and clog up play in the neutral zone. He was also quite active in the offensive end, showing off his athletic ability by carrying the puck with regularity and perhaps more effectiveness than he has shown at any other point this season. The series at Dartmouth was a different story, however. Mormina was no less than solid, but the Colgate team as a whole simply had a tough time keeping up with their talented opponents. The Raiders took the first game of the series in a classic – a 4-3, four-overtime thriller that will surely be remembered as the team’s highlight of the season. However, the game clearly took more out of Colgate than it did Dartmouth, and the latter wound up taking the series with a pair of relatively convincing victories (3-1, 5-2).

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Bernd Bruckler, Goaltender

Team: University of Wisconsin (13-23-4 overall, 7-17-4 in conference play)
Playoffs: The postseason was over before it really got started for the Badgers this year. After a very disappointing regular season, the team was swept out of the WCHA playoffs in the first round, dropping two straight games (2-1, 6-5 in double-OT) to Minnesota State. Bruckler was very solid in the series opener, stopping 32 of 34 shots in the loss. For the second game, however, Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves went with Scott Kabotoff, opting to give the senior netminder one last chance in a big game. Kabotoff played better than his stats show (6 goals against on 48 shots), but a powerplay goal 1:21 into the second overtime eventually terminated the team’s season.

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John Eichelberger, Center

Team: University of Wisconsin (13-23-4 overall, 7-17-4 in conference play)
Playoffs: (See above) Eichelberger was not much of a factor either way in the Badgers’ series loss to Minnesota State. He did not stand out in any way, though he was reasonably effective in a defensive role. Eichelberger wound up with 0 points, 1 shot and a plus-1 rating for the series.